Anonymous Online Speech: Soon To Be Banned by Albany?

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The Voice's Steven Thrasher just brought this to our attention.

Legislation is pending in Albany that would make illegal anonymous online commenting, City & State tweeted this morning.

Looks like Wired was among the first to report on the measure.

The bill's backers, according to the mag, want to curtail "mean-spirited and baseless political attacks" and "spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity."

The legislation would make New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, "remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post."

The measures would also apply to messages on social networks and message boards or "any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages," Wired points out, and requires that sites offer "a contact number or e-mail address posted for 'such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.'"

There's no ID requirement, however, for people who want the anonymous content removed.

The Voice contacted the offices Dean Murray and Thomas F. O'Mara, who sponsored the bills in the Assembly and state Senate, respectively. We wanted to see what's up.

We're also reaching out to a First Amendment expert for some clarification. Obvs, this seems more than a bit legally iffy, considering that the U.S. Constitution seems to protect free speech.

We'll update if we hear back.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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Lifeofliberty
Lifeofliberty

The only possible (logical, sensible) reason that they would seek to stop anonymous posters is because they intend through fear and intimidation to try and stop dissent.

This means dissent is being criminalized and targeted. Nothing new there, but the obvious trend is to prohibit free speech.

Anonymity is a cornerstone of liberty and freedom, where you have the liberty to freely to speak up without fear of repercussions or harm. Only by anonymity can this possibly happen.

If anonymity is removed, then there will be neither freedom or liberty anymore. It will all be under government regulation, control and identification, undoubtedly used to isolate individuals and suppress free speech.

Controlling opinions and dissent is the goal. However, dissent is "the highest form of patriotism". So what they're really seeking to do is regulate and then criminalize patriotism.

Michijo
Michijo

Rubbish. Only proves that New York is not all that liberal. New England proper is more politically liberal than New York. I'll post my full name, photo, and address on every comment I make, and any right wing bozo who wants to can come over to my place and Ill punch him or her in the face.

Noah Miller
Noah Miller

I don't know if this is satire or just misguided.

Michijo
Michijo

 Is the article satire or what I wrote satire? The law seems misguided. In fact, just by myself walking around, I regularly physically assault Christians. If you think I am joking about punching you in your conservative face, you are dead wrong. I attacked 3 Christians who were standing wearing suits yesterday. They had a sign about Jesus and a bible. I walked right up to them, spit on one of their suits, and punched their jesus sign with a left hook. For me, it is no longer any argument, but that I punch your conservative face.

Michijo
Michijo

I may be a bit "tongue-in-cheek" and have dry humor, but I assure you I am quite sick of the USA. I do NOT empathize with anyone nor take a "The Simpsons" cartoon acceptance of American culture. I do not like American culture, and I perceive New York as being the capital of a the lie of American liberalism, which isn't really all that liberal. Rather, New York is infested with churches, Watchtower Societies, fundamentalist Christians, right wing talk show hosts like Bill Oreilly, Fox News, a guitar playing naked cowboy, ad infinitum. Sometimes in Manhattan, there are so many American Flag murals, and such a patriotic mentality, you might as well be in Dallas. You can be in New England and never see a Hasidic Jew, Watchtower booklet carrier, Scientologist, Voodooist, or any real fundamentalists. Its not surprising that new england is the most secular area of the USA, with Vermont as the most secular. Think of that, they pray less in Vermont than New York. New Yorkers seem like right wing nuts to me. No dancing! Also, I would like to complain that you take piss-poor care of the homeless. Often, your little churches like the Bowery Mission force the homeless to listen to a sermon before eating. New York definitely has a strong Texas feeling. I think of New York as being "Down South". If I meet someone from New York I say "Oh, you from down south?". I can keep complaining! Your banks ruined the economy. It's the home of Wall Street. Oh yes, and let's not forget the "no sitting" quality of life law, where police can harass you just for sitting on anything that is not specifically designed for sitting like a bench. Another of my favorite New York Crimes is the real estate tycoons in Brooklyn who bought up all the public housing in Germany, and not just a little, but a sizable stock of it, as if some assholes in New York really needed to privately own public housing overseas. People complain all across the USA that agencies in New York buy their buildings and public monuments. Maybe you need to get out more!

Noah Miller
Noah Miller

This comment was about you. The law is stupid and won't pass legal muster. But I hope to heck you're satire. You just can't tell anymore.

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